As teams across the majors focus on the upcoming First-Year Player Draft that is set to begin later this week, the Philadelphia Phillies are watching one of their own young players continue to break out.
Domonic Brown looks to remain red-hot at the plate on Tuesday as the Phillies try to win a third straight game in the middle contest of a three-game series with the Miami Marlins.
Regarded as one of the top prospects in baseball a few years ago, Brown has battled inconsistency and injury over the past few seasons before winning a starting job out of spring training this year. Following a slow start to April, Brown got things going in May, winning NL Player of the Month after notching 12 homers and 25 RBI.
He hasn't slowed down in June either, homering twice in three games while driving in six. The left-hander's homer in Monday's 7-2 win over the Marlins was his NL-leading 17th of the season and ninth in his past 10 games overall.
Brown, who is on an eight-game hitting streak, is the first Phillie to hit nine home runs over a 10-game stretch since Bobby Abreu from May 8-18, 2005.
Delmon Young and Erik Kratz added solo homers to back Kyle Kendrick's second complete game of the season. Kendrick held the Marlins to a pair of runs on six hits and added his first career triple to go along with an RBI and run scored.
"It was fun," Kendrick said. "Obviously, the hit was awesome. My dad was here, so I'm sure he enjoyed it."
Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna each knocked in a run for Miami, which was coming off its first series sweep of the season after taking all three games against the New York Mets this past weekend. The Marlins lost for the 10th time in their past 13 games.
Starter Tom Koehler was tagged for five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits over five-plus frames to absorb the loss.
"It was a good game the first four innings," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "In the fifth and sixth, they put up some good at-bats, and we couldn't hold them down."
Run support has been an issue for Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco this season and he hopes to get some help from the offense on Tuesday night.
Nolasco has lost four of his past five decisions and is getting just 2.27 runs of support per game, leading to a 3-6 record through 12 starts despite a 3.69 earned run average. He held the Tampa Bay Rays to three runs on four hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings on Thursday in suffering a 5-2 defeat.
The four walks were a season high and the 30-year-old gave up a pair of homers.
"It all stems from guys trying to pitch perfect," Redmond told the Marlins' official website. "He knows he can't get down by too many runs. We just haven't been able to pick him up and get the offense. That's what happens. You try to be perfect and you end up walking a guy and then making a mistake."
The right-hander hadn't allowed any home runs over his previous four starts since serving up three solo shots in a 4-1 loss at Philadelphia on May 3. Nolasco was taken deep by Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Brown in falling to 8-6 with a 3.85 ERA in 20 career meetings with the Phillies, 17 of those starts.
Jonathan Pettibone defeated Nolasco that day for the Phillies and hopes to repeat that outcome tonight. The 22-year-old was making just his third career start in that one and held the Marlins to just a run over 6 1/3 frames. One of the five hits he yielded was a solo homer to Donovan Solano.
That victory was part of Pettibone's undefeated start to his major league career as he went 3-0 with a 3.21 ERA through seven starts. The righty finally hit the loss column on Thursday versus Boston, giving up a season-high four runs on six hits and four walks over five innings of work to match his shortest outing of the season.
"Part of the plan was to pound some of the lefties in and I was just trying to fine-tune it too much," said Pettibone. "Some of the pitches wound up being balls and I fell behind in the count too often."
Pettibone's season ERA moved to 3.64.
The Phillies have won seven of 11 versus the Marlins this season, including a four-game split in Philadelphia from May 2-5.